Thursday, March 14, 2013

Exercising Arms

When I do research for my books, sure, I turn to internet sources and books for information. I also interview people who have experience with certain things and do or learn things for myself. One of my works in progress is the first book of a mystery series where an injured homicide detective turned PI has to relearn how to shoot. Recently, I went to a local pistol range to take a private lesson on shooting a handgun.

It was my first time shooting any kind of gun. The instructor was surprised that I had never even shot a bb gun. I learned on a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The former Vietnam Marine started with basic gun safety. Although I wore a turtleneck, he warned me about wearing open necked shirts for future shooting. The empty shell casings are hot when they fly out of the gun and if you are wearing a shirt with an open neck, there is a possibility that the casing can hit your skin and burn you. (Always good to know.) At the shooting bay, he went over grip, stance, sight lines, and loading a magazine.

Then, it was my turn to pick up the gun. The black metal felt foreign in my hands. After he checked my grip, I squeezed the trigger. A hole in the paper target appeared in the vicinity of the A for which I was aiming. My heart raced and I was not aware of breathing. When he told me to shoot again, my hands couldn’t feel the gun. The front and rear sights blurred too much to align. My eyes saw nothing but a black blob in front of a wash of gray.

When he finally told me to stop, he brought the target towards us. All the holes were clustered where they were supposed to be. He told me that I did a good job. Then, he had me put the bullets into the magazine. I impressed him by loading them correctly after only watching him once.

The second time I picked the gun up off of the plastic ledge, which rested on top of the metal bar separating us from the target area, I was no longer shaking. My shots reflected my new-found ease with the firearm. Holding the gun steady and not allowing the recoil to control my shots was my biggest challenge. In time and with practice, I will be able to compensate for recoil.

After shooting two handed, he had me shoot one handed with each hand. I liked one handed shooting the best. However, that was near the end of the lesson where I was feeling the most comfortable with the pistol.

On the car ride home, I realized that I got much more out of the lesson than just fodder for my books. A part of me feels safer with only the knowledge of how to use a gun. I look forward to returning to the pistol range. Practicing can only make me better and more comfortable with guns.

I believe that all of us should be “armed” with the knowledge of how to defend ourselves. Knowledge is power and learning any kind of self-defense puts the power in our hands.

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